PRESENT Media Ecology in Women’s Football – What is media convergence? (4)

In this blog post, the current media ecology of women’s football (in England) will be analysed, as we discuss media convergence that we have seen in the present day. If you would like to know more about the history of women’s football and the media, be sure to check out the last blog post in this series (3).

Right now is a great time for women’s football. In the last year alone, we have seen records being broken left right centre in the world of women’s football. The women’s European Champions was a “sensational moment in history” (Published Sun, 2022). The women’s European Championship final against Germany holds the record for the most attended European Championship game in history (for the women’s game AND the men’s) (Hall, 2022). Besides the record breaking attendances at the matches, it can be said that the media coverage was unprecedented! (UCFB, 2022). A large increase in broadcasting media (television and radio) was not the only transformation that we saw in the list of developments in 2022 for women’s football.

The popularity of social media in today’s society can be said to have had a positive impact of women’s football in the present day. As mentioned in blog post 1, Tik Tok was the most downloaded app in 2021 (Curry, 2022), due to the shorter nature of the videos that are suited to generation Z. England’s national football team has one TikTok page, that includes content from the women’s team AND the men’s – as opposed to having two separate pages.

Having a dual TikTok puts the women and the men’s game on an even playing field when it comes to social media, and while it is not the same across all of the national football team’s social media platforms, it is a great start in increasing the visibility of the women’s game (EVEN further). The types of video that were posted throughout the women’s 2022 European Championships included a lot of challenges videos, where you got an insight of what the players were like, off the pitch, giving viewers an opportunity to relate and form opinions on the players. This means that the viewers are more likely to form attachment to players, and so, more attachment to the game the players are playing.

The disruption that social media and digitalization is having upon the way that we consume media is proving to be positive for the growth of the women’s game, and media convergence is changing the way we consume football. Media convergence is the process of different types of media merging and collaborating to meet the changing demands of the consumers (Jenkins, 2004). Vann (2014) states that in today’s society, growth in social media presence can have a positive correlation upon media attention. While the women’s super league such as Arsenal women FC, have separate social media accounts to the men’s team social pages, the reposting feature allows the women’s social media pages to become more visible, which could result in more media attention in the women’s super league.

The popularity of social media in today’s society can be said to have had a positive impact of women’s football in the present day. As mentioned in blog post 1, Tik Tok was the most downloaded app in 2021 (Curry, 2022), due to the shorter nature of the videos that are suited to generation Z. England’s national football team has one TikTok page, that includes content from the women’s team AND the men’s – as opposed to having two separate pages.

The media is changing and adapting, and so is the way we consume football. Could this mean good things for women’s football? or could there be implications to come along with the fast growth of women’s football in the media. The next blog post will predict what future media convergence and ecology will look like in the world of women’s football in years to come.

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